If you read this post, you’ll know I’ve launched a new series called hidden Brighton walks. Each walk takes you snooping around the backstreets of a different Brighton and Hove neighbourhood, away from crowds. You can walk the routes in any season, or when the mood takes you. They’re self-guided, with fun facts to read along the way and a map including useful addresses.
Today, I’m kicking off with the first in the series: a hidden walk around Brighton’s Seven Dials which takes us into the Montpelier and Clifton conservation area. I call it ‘the Notting Hill of Brighton‘, for all the beautiful historic architecture and exclusive feel. Despite its timeless beauty and city-centre location, it remains off most people’s radars as a place for a walk. I tend to start on Dyke Road armed with coffee from Puck, head into the conservation area along leafy Clifton Road, and then zig-zag my way south. Follow me!
Hidden Brighton walk: Seven Dials
Turn off Dyke Road into Clifton Road away from the hustle and bustle. Notice how you’ll instantly feel transported, as you slow down to stare at the whitewashed villa houses, some of them flats, but many still single-family homes. Picturing yourself living in one is totally unavoidable. I’m always fascinated by the one with what looks like a giant birdcage in the front garden (pictured below). Fun fact: At number 11 you’ll see a blue plaque with the name Edward Bransfield. He was a navigator and explorer who discovered Antarctica in 1820. Who knew?
At the end of Clifton Road, you’ll see a cosy pub on the corner called The Crescent I’d recommend for Sunday roast. You’ll also see an art gallery opposite called the Little Mustard Shop (sadly now permanently closed since I wrote this post).
From here, turn left onto Clifton Hill, another otherworldly street lined with beautiful Regency and Victorian houses. Fun fact: Princess Omoba Aina of West Africa, Brighton’s forgotten Black Royal celebrity lived at number 17 Clifton Hill for a time. Next, turn right onto Powis Villas then left onto Clifton Terrace, and be prepared to go into another trance.
Welcome to Clifton Terrace, the nicest street in Brighton and Hove, maybe? It feels like you’ve discovered a hidden secluded village all of its own, that looks like it doesn’t really belong in Brighton! Every house is an architectural gem. Fun facts: Apparently Clifton Terrace was one of the last rows of Regency houses in this style to be built in the city. As the houses are in a conservation area, they have to be kept gleaming white and the ironwork black.
If and when you can peel yourself away from this Mediterranean-style haven in Brighton, head back the way you came, then turn left onto Victoria Road.
You may or may not know I’m a sucker for a floor mosaic so almost screamed when I discovered this gem a little way along Victoria Road on the left-hand side which I’ll be adding it to this post.
Don’t miss a peek at the view from Victoria Street down to the sea. It’s a good place to stand, take in your surroundings and listen to the sound of tranquility.
Victoria Street is also home to this grand building complete with a mystery statue said to represent Hebe, wine-bearer to the Gods, and a copy of a work by the Danish sculptor, Thorvaldsen (pictured below).
Turn right into Powis Road where eventually you’ll see two red London telephone boxes on the edge of the leafy Powis Square. This is known as the Dog and Bone Gallery, Brighton’s smallest art gallery which hosts regular exhibitions. Sometimes it’s open, but if they’re closed, it’s still easy to see inside…
Once you’ve satisfied your curiosity for this miniature art gallery and had a culture fix, take a wander around Powis Square and admire all the curve-fronted apartments, at which point you’ll end up back up at Clifton Hill. Turn left onto Clifton Hill then left onto Montpelier Villas another swoon-worthy street of Regency villas, this time with curved bay windows and balconies!
At the end of this beautiful street, turn left onto Hampton Terrace – for more stunning architecture – and head west until the road becomes Upper North Street where you’ll find a surprise…
The miniature museum of curiosities in a shopwindow called Anna’s Museum, which you can read about here.